Profile - John Leming | D-11593

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201512John Leming started skydiving in 1984 with his best friend and future teammate, Kirk Verner, while they were still in high school. He developed his formation skydiving skills, and in 1993, with little camera experience, he became the camera flyer for what would be the most successful formation skydiving team ever assembled: Arizona Airspeed. The team—Leming and longtime friend Verner, Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, Jack Jefferies and Mark Kirkby—made thousands of jumps together and won numerous national and world championships. Leming filmed it all. More than 30 years after his first jump, Leming still actively skydives and also finds time for BASE jumping, scuba diving, snowboarding, paragliding and photography. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Ivan’s Birthday Present

by John Dobleman | D-7790 | Oakley, California

While visiting my friend, Ivan Balarin, D-3442, one evening this year, he showed me a poem that had been written for him for his birthday while he was in the hospital recovering from a broken leg. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Paulo Marinho Gesta de Melo

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by Paulo Marinho Gesta de Melo | D-32697 | Ithaca, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

I was born with a heart condition. I’ve always known that I would have to get surgery to replace a heart valve, but the prognosis was that this would not be necessary until I was around 60 years old. So I’ve had a normal life. I’ve always been active, doing triathlons, cycling, working out, and in 2001, I started skydiving. In 2006, I decided to take skydiving seriously and traveled to boogies, camps and freefly and swoop championships. I became an AFF and BBF instructor (basic body flight, essentially the coach equivalent in Brazil’s student progression) and started traveling every month to train in the U.S. more »

Gearing Up - December 2015

EdScottNationals and the U.S. Team

Annually, USPA uses its national championships to determine the makeup of the U.S. Parachute Team. With the growth in the number of skydiving disciplines, the U.S. Team can now exceed 60 members, all of whom must largely pay their own way to world championships. Even though the donor-supported Team Trust Fund now exceeds $1.4 million, by law USPA can allocate only the earned interest to the team. And even though that can total up to $60,000, it only covers the registration fees of the team members, which still leaves them with training, gear and international travel costs. USPA could provide more support, but to do so member dues would have to increase, since revenues from today’s renewal fee of $55 largely fund current operations. more »

Profile - Benjamin Forde | D-30397

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201511Benjamin Forde is an avid fun-jumper, world traveler and artist. He’s the creative director of Fordesign.com, which produces ads and promotional materials for skydiving gear manufacturers and drop zones, as well as network television and other major entertainment-industry clients. Even if you’ve never met him, you’ve undoubtedly seen his work. Forde’s expertise in marketing and design and his ideas about the promotion of skydiving have raised the profile of the sport both inside and outside the industry. more »

Tales from the Bonfire - Just Flick It

by Ray Barker | D-13174 | Ellijay, Georgia

In September of 1990, I was going through the training required to transition from using a ripcord to a pilot chute for deployment. I wasn’t familiar with how to stow the pilot chute into the pouch, so one of the up-jumpers packed it for me. I remember being a little nervous about the whole thing, so the owner of the DZ kept telling me not to worry and just flick the pilot chute out. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Lisa Ann Simpson

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by Lisa Ann Simpson | C-41459 | Ithaca, New York

When I started skydiving, it was the first thing I had actually done just for me. In 1997, I made one tandem for my 30th birthday. I fell in love with skydiving, but I was a single mother of two children and my most important goal was to raise them. Almost 15 years later, I told a girlfriend at work who was a skydiver that I had once made a tandem and would love to do another one. She told me that she had a friend who took students on tandems and gave me his contact information. On November 13, 2010, I drove to Skydive City Zephyrhills in Florida. I had no idea that my life was going to change forever. more »

Gearing Up - November 2015

EdScott These “Gearing Up” commentaries are usually positive, which isn’t all that difficult because there are so many good things happening with skydiving. We have a growing USPA membership, a thriving Sisters in Skydiving program, an increase in skydiving record jumps, more DZs opening, fewer canopy-related accidents occurring and a declining fatal-accident rate. more »

Profile - Christy West | D-21464

by Brian Giboney

PROFILE201510Christy West, D-21464, started skydiving in 1997 and developed her formation skydiving talent quickly; by 1999 she was part of the successful 118-way Jump for the Cause Women’s World Record for Largest Formation Skydive. She has competed in formation skydiving at every USPA Nationals since 2000 and has earned numerous medals with a variety of teams. West is currently the marketing manager for the ever-busy Spaceland drop zones, and her efforts have helped the DZs build an exceptionally close community of jumpers. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Chris Dawson

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by Chris Dawson | Ithaca, New York

What I have learned from skydiving is that everybody dies. OK, I didn’t learn this from skydiving. In fact, I am not really a skydiver. I have made two jumps in my life. One was a static-line jump and the other was a tandem. Both were terrifying. But my wife is a skydiver, and I have learned a lot from her involvement in the sport. more »